New Fleet Hits the Road

New Fleet Hits the Road

Campus shuttle service debuts new vehicles, revises weekday routes

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Boston College students and employees who use the University's campus shuttle service have probably noticed something different about the buses this year: They're brand new and they're bigger.

Students exiting one of the new campus shuttle buses, which offer increased capacity and air conditioning, among other features. (Photo by Lee Pelligrini)

Other changes in the service, which officially began its academic year schedule Aug. 24, include a new morning express run for Boston riders and a streamlined route system.

"Our primary goal is to get students on campus in time for their classes," said Office of Residential Life Director Robert Capalbo, whose department oversees the bus service.

"It's a challenge," he said, noting that 600 fewer commuter parking stickers were issued to off-campus residents this year. "But we fully recognize how important it is to students and faculty alike."

Capalbo said the centerpiece of BC's new transportation plan is the 12 Gillig Phantom buses that arrived from their California manufacturer in late summer. The new vehicles, designed specifically for campus transportation, have perimeter seating for 34 persons and accommodate 32 standees. They replace the University's former nine-bus fleet of vehicles that seated 26 passengers each in standard bench-style rows.

In addition to their increased capacity, the new buses have several features that will make boarding easier for riders with physical limitations. Each vehicle will have a handicap-access ramp at the front door, allowing the driver to directly assist boarding passengers, and a hydraulic "kneeling" capability, allowing the bus to be lowered as much as six inches to provide easy access for people with limited mobility.

Capalbo said that a new "Boston Direct" route from Cleveland Circle's D Line stop and along Commonwealth Avenue to the Robsham Theater bus stop will be added this fall, providing continuous morning service at quarter-hour intervals for students living east of the campus. This route will join the "Eagle Direct" service that provides continuous morning express transportation every 15 minutes from the Newton Campus to the University's main gate on Commonwealth Avenue.

Capalbo said that drivers from Boston Coach Co., who will operate the University's new buses, have undergone training sessions to familiarize them with routes and safety procedures. "Our expectation is that students and other passengers will treat the drivers with the respect that should be shown to every member of the community," Capalbo noted.

Students should also plan their morning schedules to allow for travel time, occasional weather delays and walking time from the Robsham and Commonwealth Avenue gate bus stops to classroom buildings, Capalbo said.

The complete campus bus schedule and route information is posted on a new Web site.


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